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Sen Williams Dissents on Senate Move
Tuesday, 15 January 2013

January 15--  The Atlanta Business Chronicle reports Senator Tommie Williams of Lyons objected to a move by the state Senate Monday restoring power to Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle.

"The counter-revolution in the Georgia Senate is complete.

Senators began the 2013 legislative session Monday by adopting new rules restoring the powers Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle had enjoyed as presiding officer before a coup staged by a group of Senate leaders four years ago.

Most significantly, Cagle will control three of five appointments to a reconstituted Committee on Assignments that essentially runs the Senate.

During the last four years, the committee was dominated by former Senate President Pro Tempore Tommie Williams, R-Lyons, and former Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers, R-Woodstock.

Rogers resigned from the Senate last month to take a job with Georgia Public Broadcasting.

But Williams, who stepped down from leadership last summer, was on the Senate floor Monday to rail against the rules changes as an unconstitutional intrusion of the lieutenant governor, a member of the executive branch of state government, into the legislature.

“It’s dangerous to give one person absolute power,” Williams told his Senate colleagues. “You’re the legislature. You have powers. … What you’re doing is rendering that [power] to a person who is not a senator.”

But other senators pointed out that previous lieutenant governors have wielded similar authority in the Senate as presiding officers.

In defending the new arrangement, Sen. Ronnie Chance, R-Tyrone, Rogers’ successor as majority leader, alluded to the internal bickering that has dogged the Senate since the coup against Cagle, a rift that frequently got in the way of the chamber conducting business.

“It’s no mystery what this body has gone through the last few years,” Chance said. “It’s my hope we can move forward as a united Senate doing what we were elected to do.”

The Senate also elected Sen. David Shafer, R-Duluth, to succeed Williams as president pro tempore.

 

 
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